Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a substance occuring naturally in the body, that is responsible
for the function and proliferation of immune cells. This factor is reduced early during
the course of HIV-disease. A pioneer study has been conducted at the Department of
Dermatology and Venereology at the University of Essen, where over the course
of one year a total of 64 patients have been treated subcutaneously (syringes
being injected under the skin like diabetics inject their insulin) with Interleukin-2.
The goal of this trial was to assess the tolerability and to define
the optimal dosing interval of IL-2 therapy. The study has been completed and showed
excellent tolerability with general symptoms such as fever, weakness and indurations at
the injection sites being the most severe side effects. Important immunological parameters
such as CD4-counts showed a significant improvement. Surprisingly, some patients showed
a reduction of viral load in lymph nodes and plasma.
As the trial showed, patients with concomitant hepatitis
B or C could also receive Interleukin-2 without the occurrence of side-effects.
Usually, a viral hepatitis is aggrava-ted through the intake of additional drugs to
be metabolized by the liver.
From a clinical standpoint, complications such as infections of the skin by herpes
and thrush were counted much less frequently in individuals treated with IL-2 in
comparison to those without IL-2 treatment.
first studie IL-2
Following these promising results, the findings will be verified in an
international, multicenter trial in the U.S. and Europe with the participation of
1400 patients, that started in April '99.
More information about the studies mentioned in
this page is available upon request. You can also ask for the original
medical paper about IL-2 that has been published in the journal "AIDS" in 1998.